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Published: 18:04 | 20/3/16

Rashford strike wins Manchester showdown

Elsewhere, Spurs beat Cherries to close gap at top

Marcus Rashford scored the only goal as Manchester United won 1-0 at Manchester City in the Premier League, while Tottenham Hotspur defeated Bournemouth.

At the Etihad Stadium, Juan Mata’s pass allowed teenager Rashford to evade a poor Martin Demichelis challenge and slide United ahead in the 16th minute.

Demichelis appeared to have conceded a penalty when he took down Rashford on the stroke of the interval but City’s appeals were unsuccessful.

Sergio Aguero missed two good opportunities with headers before the booked Chris Smalling escaped a second yellow card for chopping down the hosts’ talisman.

City, despite another fine chance for Aguero, were unable to find an equaliser, as United closed the gap to their fourth-placed local rivals to a single point.

Louis van Gaal’s men sit sixth, behind West Ham on goal difference, in the battle with City for the final Champions League spot.

Manuel Pellegrini and his troops suffered, along with defeat, misfortune in the form a groin injury sustained by Raheem Sterling, who was replaced by Fernandinho a little over a quarter into the encounter.

The hosts were struck by a second injury at the beginning of the second half, as Joe Hart was stretchered off after picking up a calf problem in clearing a dangerously short Demichelis back-pass. It proved to be the Argentine’s final notable act of what had been a nightmarish day for the central defender.

Early on in Manchester, Jesus Navas had a couple of decent attempts, before Rashford shocked the home supporters by taking Mata’s incisive pass, skipping past Demichelis and applying a finish that Hart got a touch to but could not keep out.

City survived an Anthony Martial drive, parried well by Hart, prior to Demichelis heading a fine opportunity wide from David Silva’s free-kick delivery.

Yaya Toure went close with an effort from the edge of the area and sliced a good chance off target late in the first period, unsuccessfully appealing for a penalty against Michael Carrick when missing the latter opportunity.

United, too, had a shout for a penalty dismissed by Michael Oliver ahead of the interval, as Demichelis clearly nudged Rashford in an illegal manner.

Willy Caballero, brought on for Hart early in the second half, looked set to be picking the ball out of the net within 10 minutes of his arrival when Matteo Darmian’s cross found Rashford, but the youngster fired his effort off Eliaquim Mangala rather than on target.

The relieved City struck the outside of David De Gea’s near post through Aguero, who later headed Silva’s fine delivery across the target, with Wilfried Bony narrowly unable to convert Toure’s follow-up pass.

Aguero had another good chance in injury time, taking Silva’s feed inside substitute Antonio Valencia but surprisingly firing wide.

United held on to secure a surprise derby success that all but certainly pushes City out of the title race.

At White Hart Lane, Tottenham beat Bournemouth 3-0 to move back to within five points of league leaders Leicester City.

Harry Kane made slight but crucial contact with a right-wing Kyle Walker cross to give Spurs the lead after less than a minute of the clash.

Kevin Wimmer’s fine pass allowed Dele Alli to play in Kane for Tottenham’s second, as the England striker slid a low finish past Artur Boruc.

Alli fired home from a Kane flick before the break, but the latter attacker had been in an offside position from Eric Dier's cross, ensuring that the effort was chalked off.

Bournemouth started the second half well but their hopes were effectively ended when Boruc pushed a Kane strike straight to Christian Eriksen, who tapped in the rebound.

The defeat drops the Cherries to 13th place in the Premier League, although top-flight survival remains highly likely.

By David Maher

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